Popular Magic Tricks Explained

Magicians often amuse both children and adults with a combination of charm and tricks. More often than not, a magician leaves the audience wondering “how did they do that?” Well, today prepare to receive the answer to that question. The secrets of some of the most popular magic tricks will be revealed now.

The Levitating Man

This is a rather simple, but visually stunning trick. You may have seen it on the street, yourself. It appears as though a man’s floating in the air, sitting cross-legged, using nothing but a pole to hold himself in the air. Although, that’s not exactly the case. The pole is actually a part of a rig. A bottom circle is normally hidden with flowers or some other kind of debris. Meanwhile, the basket that the magician is sitting in is hidden by large robes.

The Floating Woman

After inviting a woman up from the audience, or just using their assistant, the magician will have the woman lay down on a plank of wood held up by two chairs. The magician then slowly moves the chairs to reveal that the woman’s floating. Some magicians even use rings to show that there are no wires holding her up. So, how does this work? As it turns out, the chairs were never the only thing giving the woman support. The magician will often stand next to a metal rod, which is also helping to hold up the plank of wood. The magician then just puts pressure on the rod to help keep the woman where she is. The hoop often used is more of a red herring, captivating the audience further to distract them from the rod.

Walking On Water

Walking on water was one of the many miracles that Jesus Christ was stated to perform in the Bible. Of course magicians would want to replicate that miracle, so it would seem all the more stunning to those watching. However, it’s not quite as impressive a trick as you might expect. Magicians simply put perspex boxes in the water, just below its surface. They’re clear and sturdy, so the magician has a safe and hidden walking space. The magician will often look uneven or wobbly while walking, but it’s really just a show.

Rabbit Out Of A Hat

This is the quintessential magic trick that everyone knows about. It appears as though the magician reached into another dimension to pull a rabbit out of their hat. As it turns out, you’re gonna need more than a hat and a rabbit to pull this one off. Magicians put an opaque bag on the back of a table. Then, right before they pull the rabbit out of the hat, they slip the rabbit into the hat. It’s still a very difficult trick that requires high dexterity and reflexes.

Sawing A Person In Half

Dismemberment is always entertaining to the audience. And the ultimate form of dismemberment is sawing someone in half. This trick involves an assistant climbing into a box, which is then cut in half by the magician. Right when you might think that the assistant is done for, they move their feet and arms to show that they’re completely fine, and can someone move their unattached limbs. As it turns out, however, there is not one assistant, but two. The boxes that the assistants are hiding in are much larger than one might assume, and actually go into the table that the boxes are placed on top of. The two assistants then scrunch up their bodies to better hide their bodies.

Cutting A Person In Half (With A Buzzsaw)

Much like the previous trick, this one involves an assistant getting cut in half. Although, in the case of this buzzsaw, it’s even more difficult to tell how the assistant survives getting cut in half. As it turns out, this one also uses a hidden compartment. The assistant slides their lower half into it before the saw comes down, leaving a pair of fake feet in their place. However, this trick is still incredibly dangerous, as the buzzsaw is still incredibly real.

Biting A Coin In Half

This trick is often hard to dispute, as the coin the magician bites in half is procured from the audience. However, that’s because the sleight of hand skills of the magician are too high for the average person to notice the switch. The magician will just switch out the real coin for a prop one that breaks when pressure is applied to it. And the break is often designed in a manner that it appears as bite marks.

The Zig-Zag Box

This trick has the magician’s assistant walk into a wooden box. And then immediately, the magician dislodges the middle portion of the box (where the assistant’s chest is) and moves it to the side. There are small holes in each of the three sections for the assistant’s face, hands, and a foot, so that you know that they’re actually in each section. However, the secret to this trick lies in the assistant’s flexibility. While they put their face through the appropriate holes, they turn their body to travel through both of the lower sections, despite the strange positioning.

The Bending Spoon

This kind of trick is often done at parties. They just pick up a random spoon from a table, proceed to bend it, then bend it back to normal. As it turns out, the spoon was never bent to begin with. The magician simply uses a silver coined to mimic the the edge of the handle of the spoon, hiding the rest of it in their hand as they slowly “bend” it. They then just “unbend” the spoon and stash the coin before anyone can notice.

The Floating Cup

This one makes it appear as the though the magician is having a cup float between their hands. However, this trick is really simple. There’s just a hole in the back of the cup. The magician then puts their thumb through the hole where no one can see it.

Smoke From Fingers

It would be pretty cool to be able to just produce smoke from your hands. It appears as though the mere friction of their fingers can cause smoke to come from some magician’s hands, almost like they’re just moving that fast. However, all is not how it seems. As it turns out, this trick can actually be rather dangerous. It requires you to take over the leftover phosphorus from a lit match and apply it to your fingers. The same friction you might use from striking a match against a matchbox will generate smoke on your fingers.

Pigeon Appearing

This trick involves making a pigeon appear out of thin air, as one might expect. Normally, this trick is accompanied by a bright flash, the distraction and key to this trick. It’s so brief, however, that one doesn’t really have time to figure out what’s happening. As it turns out, the pigeon was stuffed into the magician’s sleeve. The flash is just how they sneak the pigeon out without the audience noticing.

Walking Through A Solid Wall

No one can walk through solid walls, aside from certain magicians. Although, in actuality, they can’t walk through walls either. The sheet they put up is to help with their misdirection. As it turns out, there’s actually a tunnel in the ground that the magician can pass under.

Hand Through Glass

If moving through a solid wall is difficult, moving through glass might be at least a little bit easier. Although it’s still impossible without breaking the glass. Yet, magicians manage to put their hands through it anyway. This trick normally uses several panels. And right before the trick is actually performed, the magician switches out a few of the panels so that the magician can slip their hand through unimpeded. As long as the glass is clear enough, no one will notice the difference.

Card Through The Window

Another trick trying to move a solid object through glass. It’s impressive how magicians like David Blaine managed to pull this one off. Well, the importance of assistants is once again stressed. After placing the card on the window, an assistant needs to place an identical card on the other side of the glass. The magician can then have someone pull the other card off the window.

Turning Water Into Ice

There’s a certain trick where a magician takes a cup of water, pours it into a cup, and then, when they pour it back out, ice comes out. As it turns out, the water wasn’t the only thing added to the cup. The magician also sneaks the ice and a sponge into the cup. That way, the water gets absorbed by the sponge, leaving the ice as the only thing that can come out.

The Smooth Criminal Lean

This one’s about someone who isn’t technically a magician, but is still regarded as a celebrity. This lean from Michael Jackson’s live performances is iconic, and one of his most well-known dance moves. However, how does he get this kind of lean? The soles of his shoes had triangular shapes cut into them. He’d then expertly catch his heels in nails sticking out of the floorboards so that he could get that perfect lean.

The Underwater Box

This is one of the most difficult and dangerous magic tricks to perform. It involves escaping from handcuffs or chains and a padlocked crate filled with water, all before drowning yourself. Well, whatever bindings the magician are in inside of the box, they aren’t real. The magician can just slip out of those without any trouble at all. Additionally, there’s a panel on the box that the magician can use to slip out of before things get too dicy.

Underwater Torture Cell

This water trick has an extra layer in it in comparison to the previous one. First, the magician’s feet are locked in stocks. Then they are suspended upside-down by their ankles. And now they are lowered into a box filled with water. The restraints are then locked. If you’re not in good shape, it’s not recommended you attempt this one. When the assistant locks the box, they remove the hinge on the top of the box. That way, the magician can just push up on the lid with their feet. Also, Magicians are normally slipped a key to undo their restraints, just in case.

When The Statue of Liberty Disappeared

Millions of people saw when David Copperfield lowered a giant curtain and the Statue of Liberty was gone from its stand on Liberty Island.As it turned out, the reason behind this was a group of well-placed spotlights. They made the statue appear as if it had actually disappeared, just tricking the naked eye with an optical illusion.


This is an magnificent-looking trick that involves the magician getting into an opaque or otherwise difficult to escape from object, while the assistant raises a curtain. When the curtain falls, the magician and assistant have switched places. Some magicians became so good at this trick they learned to do it in only two seconds. The trick is actually quite simple. In whatever object the magician’s inside of, there’s just an easy exit.

The Celebrity Name Pick

A common trick at parties and less flashy magicians, this trick involves having an audience say several names of celebrities, writing their names down, and placing them within a hat or envelope. The magician then has a volunteer pull out a name and guesses who it is. And sure enough, they’ll be correct. The way they get around this is to just write the same celebrity’s name on each piece of paper. That way, it doesn’t matter which sheet the audience member picks, it’ll be the same person.

Sword Swallowing

Plenty of people have wonder how this is even possible. Even attempting to swallow a blunted sword could destroy someone’s throat. And how does the sword not trigger the magician’s gag reflex? As it turns out, there isn’t a trick to this one, just years of training and practice to allow them to swallow a blunted blade. Of course, one wrong move and they’ll regret ever learning this skill.

Being Impaled By A Spike

This is another dangerous trick, although it is actually just a trick. After getting up on the spike, saying that the trick is incredibly dangerous (which it is), the magician suddenly slips and appears to be impaled. However, they’re just fine. The magician is actually wearing a back-brace and corset to brace themselves, as well as holding the point where it appears the spike has pierced through the magician’s body.

Swallowing Razors

This is another dangerous one that can lead to severe lacerations in the mouth. While the razors can be “swallowed” one at a time, Harry Houdini did it in a fashion where he drank a whole glass of razors at once. Then he pulled them all out of his mouth with them now being connected to each other by a string. Houdini had actually spat the razors back into the glass and the razors he pulled out of his mouth were from a packet stored in his cheek.